The New Narrative

Ever read The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb?

It covers a whole lot of stuff but what really interested me was his handling of history. It really struck a chord with me. History is basically a series of improbable and completely unpredictable events. There is no “flow” to it, at least not that we can recognize, we only see these periodic erruptions (kind of like earthquakes or sudden volcanic erruptions) that come out of nowhere and are therefore unforseeable.

What we then do, however (we are human and simply demand an explanation), is quickly assign them meaning, a new narrative in the broader narrative we had made up before. We don’t have an explanation but we pretend that we do. And THEN, strangest of all, we quickly delude ourselves into thinking that the given event was actually predictable, that the people who lived through it somehow knew it was going to happen, or should have.

Think 9/11, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hitler, World War I, etc. Get the “flow” now?

Anyway, when it comes to Egypt, we’ve already passed the narrative stage and Egypt isn’t finished being Egypt yet.

Suddenly it seems everyone knew all along that President Mubarak was a villain and the US, who supported him until recently, was even worse.

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